It doesn't seem that long ago when I attended Startup Weekend Houston in February, and really caught a glimpse of what the startup scene was like here. TheSquareFoot was a brand new idea then, and I was excited to attend an event like this for the first time. I remember being nervous walking in because A) this would be the first event I attended of its kind, B) I didn't know ANYONE, C) I knew I would be pitching for the first time in front of a large audience, and D) I had no idea what kind of feedback I would get on our concept. Most people outside of the industry don't know much about commercial real estate leasing, and it's almost impossible to make it seem like a glamorous business.
Here are some things I took away from the weekend:
Everyone was so friendly and outgoing that after about 10 minutes of being there, I had already struck up conversations with 4 or 5 people. Everyone was eager to not only share what they do, but also learn what others do. The organizers of the event were great about introducing me to a handful of very prominent figures in the Houston startup community, many of which have been integral contacts for TheSquareFoot ever since.
You never know who you might run in to. It took all of about twenty minutes before I recognized an old classmate from middle school who I hadn't seen in probably 17 years, and reconnected with him. Turns out he was the CEO of a Houston based startup and was actually speaking at the event. We've kept up ever since and his company is actually in the process of helping TheSquareFoot out on a particular project.
All ideas were welcome and anyone could have the floor. That's right, as long as you were in attendance, you had the opportunity to pitch a company or idea. I heard some fantastic ideas and some crazy ones. I remember one guy got up and actually made a fairly compelling pitch about selling inflatable hats that looked like mullets. Write that down.
The food was fantastic! Tons of pizza, sandwiches, and deserts from some great establishments but the winner had to be hot dogs from the Good Dog Food Truck. The owners were there themselves making dogs for everyone with their homemade toppings. Just an excellent hot dog all around.
Teamwork was the theme of the weekend and anyone with an idea or feedback for the participating teams was welcome to share it. This is really what the weekend was all about and I thoroughly enjoyed adding input and discussing different ideas with several competing groups.
All in all, this was a fantastic event that really opened my eyes to the startup community around me I never really knew existed. So many resources and contacts so close by, anyone with aspirations of starting their own business in Houston would be foolish not to check it out.